Friday, October 28, 2011

Stakes Through the Heart

Fvampirerom Treehuggers’ Sarah Hodgson:

"Every new nuclear plant licensed and built is a stake thru the heart of energy efficiency, offshore wind, solar, and other clean energy sources," said Susan [Corbett, the chair of the South Carolina Sierra Club.]

A stake through the heart? Isn’t that what you do to the undead? In any event, Happy Halloween! (Yes, yes, it’s Monday, but the parties will be this weekend.)

Oh, and you can buy the t-shirt here.


From the AP, about Florida Power & Light getting permission from its Public Service Commission to charge ratepayers a little more while pursuing new nuclear generation:

The law is being challenged in federal court and legislation has been introduced to repeal it next year. A similar bill this year failed to get traction in the Legislature, which passed the cost recovery law in 2006 to encourage the expansion of nuclear power. Utilities otherwise would have to borrow the money, but many investors are reluctant to take a chance on nuclear plants.

Uh, no. No problem with the challenge or legislation, which aggrieved people have a right to pursue, but the reason to do this has nothing to do with skittish investors.

This is closer to correct:

The projects will add an estimated 2,614 MW of nuclear power to FPL's generation portfolio. FPL says the projects will save its customers up to $1.5 billion in the long term.

Why? Because FPL can avoid interest charges by paying off loans earlier and by pursuing some activities without loans. This is a great way to pursue all kinds of public works, not just energy facilities. It is not without controversy – call it the bird in the hand vs. the two in the bushel controversy - but it’s important to correctly describe it.

We may come back to this story when it’s moved along a little more.


From Amory Lovins:

Amory Lovins, the chairman of the Rocky Mountain Institute and the author of influential books like Winning the Oil Endgame and Natural Capitalism, is back with a new book--and this time, he's claiming that the U.S. can do the seemingly impossible: run an economy that's 158% larger by 2050 without any coal, oil, nuclear energy, or new inventions (and one-third less natural gas).

I have a real weakness for big dreamers with big plans, so I have to salute Lovins at this particular crossing for pulling together the whole energy sphere to make it fit his own particular prejudices and preferences.

"It's first about realizing that it's possible, and second, realizing that it's profitable. There are $5 trillion [in new economic value] on the table and you can get your piece of it," says Lovins. These economic opportunities will be found in more efficient vehicles, energy-saving buildings, more productive and efficient industry, and greater use of renewable energy.

“And you can get your piece of it.” Points for salesmanship, too. It feels a bit like renewable snake oil, but I think Lovins is utterly sincere. Sincere doesn’t equal correct, but hey!, it’s the future we’re talking about here. Dreaming big about the future is always permitted.

Check out a well-informed – and even epic - retort to Lovins’ views on nuclear energy here, by our own David Bradish.


liberty6Did you know the Statue of Liberty is 125 years old today? Sculptor Frederic Bartholdi undertook the project in 1865 as a joint project of his native France and the United States, with Bartholdi creating the statue and the U.S. the pedestal and base. The goal was to dedicate the statue on July 4, 1876 to commemorate the centennial.

The head and the right arm were finished first and displayed separately in the U.S. to help raise funds for the pedestal. When this did not prove adequate, New York World publisher Joseph Pulitzer started a drive through the newspaper and collected 120,000 donations, many of them under a dollar. But it was enough. The deadline was blown – who cares? – and the statue was dedicated on October 28, 1886.

The picture shows Liberty still under construction in France. Presumably, the torch arm was still touring the U.S.

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